Murphy Funeral Homes


Michele Mathews Leber

July 30, 1938January 1, 2021

Michele Mathews Leber, 82, entered Heaven on January 1, 2021 at her home in Arlington, Virginia. Michele was born in Appleton, Wisconsin to the late Jake and Pearl Mathews on July 30, 1938. She graduated from Appleton High School and Northwestern University. As a high school graduate, she was honored with the school's Craftsmanship Shield as the most outstanding student in her graduating class. She was also one of the first to earn a National Merit Scholarship, which provided funds for four years. Michele was feature editor of the school newspaper at Northwestern, while her future husband Ted was the sports editor. They shared a desk and got know each other while learning their craft. They were married on February 20, 1960 in Appleton. Ted served in the Navy for 30 years and retired as Navy Captain in 1989.

Michele began her career in the field of journalism with the Appleton Post-Crescent. She kept score at Appleton Foxes baseball games. Michele earned a Masters Degree in Library Science. She was employed at the Naval War College while Ted was a student there. Then she was employed with the Virginia Beach library system and later with the Fairfax County library system, where she was the branch manager of a number of Fairfax County libraries (John Marshall Community, George Mason Regional, Fairfax City Regional, and Tysons-Pimmit Regional). Michele rounded out her career as a leader in Collection Management/Collection Development and retired in 2002.

Michele was particularly active as the leader of the National Committee on Pay Equity (NCPE) working to close the wage gap. She might like to be remembered as the Chairperson. In 1994 she helped found a reading club for women across northern Virginia, appropriately called "Book Babes." Its members say they mourn her passing and will greatly miss her gentle spirit, her steadfast devotion to women's issues, her keen insight into books and authors, and her exceptional expertise in mystery novels. She was named The Library Journal reviewer of the year in 1997 (Fiction Award).

Michele had lived in Virginia with her family since 1970, the last 35 years in Arlington, Virginia. She was an avid fan of Northwestern sports teams and all sports teams in Washington, D.C. She especially enjoyed reading, writing book reviews, attending shows with Ted at the Signature Theatre in Arlington, and spending time with her family.

Michele is survived by her husband of 60 years, Ted; sister Pat Mathews Norman; sons Tim (Kathy) and Todd; sister-in-law Dawn Lienhardt; grandchildren Brent, Bryce, Maddie, Kenan, Kenzie, and Avery; nieces Penny and T’Keyah; and nephews Tim, Mark, Cu, Anthony, and Josh. Michele was predeceased by her father, Jake Mathews, and her mother, Pearl Mathews. Services for Michele will be private. Murphy Funeral Homes in Arlington, Virginia is serving the family. We greatly appreciate the wonderful care provided by Home Instead Senior Care.


No public services are scheduled at this time. Receive a notification when services are updated.


Michele Mathews Leber

have a memory or condolence to add?

Archana Chhaya

January 23, 2021

Although I have not been working with Michelle, I am familiar with her contributions to fcpl.
I joined the system in 1990. I’m sure I have met her at fairfax , John Marshall , George mason.
When a light passes on to the gates of heaven , it leaves behind the tiny lights of family behind to guide their way.
Michelle lives on within their hearts.
Rest In Peace.

Patrick McCartney

January 12, 2021

The board and staff of the International Essential Tremor Foundation would like to share our thoughts and prayers with the Leber family. Michele was a long time supporter of our organization and we appreciate her long time support of the IETF and the ET community.

raymond Sychowski

January 4, 2021

We send our sympathy to Ted and family on the passing of wife, Michele. We didn't know Michele personally but Ted if she was the one you chose, she must have been very special. Thinking about you at this sad time and send our love and blessings.

Ray and Peggy Sychowski